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After having heard one too many game mechanics being justified by virtue of fluff, I have come to the conclusion that the "Fluff = Game" myth needs some dispelling.
I'm going to start by saying something that might shock and anger a few people, but nonetheless has to be stated:
Warhammer 40k the game and Warhammer 40k fluff are two entirely different entities.
No matter what you read in the Space Wolf, or Gaunts Ghosts novels it should in almost no way be translated as being true to the game. Just because a couple of character names were pulled from novels and tossed into the game does not mean that the two are really related.
If this game were true to the fluff, then Space Marine models would tower over guardsman models and terminators would tower over Space Marines. If you look at the models, however, they are all relatively the same size, with the exception of the GK termies that have just recenlty been released.
Terminators, by all rights, should be able to shrug off multiple lascannon shots instead of possibly being dropped by one lucky lasgun shot.
The reason that fluff and game are mutually exclusive is for playability. It would not be very much fun to play a game where the Space Marine player would have 5 models on the table vs. the Imperial Guardsman player who would have to have about 300 models on the table and still might not be able to take them on.
So the next time that it pops into someone's brain to call an army list "not fluffy" or swear that a certain game mechanic should work a certain way because it was like that in the book, then remember that it does NOT have to make sense in the game.
Quite true, if you look at the fluff then some of the nasty Chaos Marines should literally wipe out people in swarms like it was nothing, they talk about Chaos Champions taking hits from Power Swords and Power Fists and them doing nothing to them. Necrons will reassemble from pools of molten metal, a single Marine will mow down thrity or fourty guardsman liek they were made of paper.
And as well all know a lot of that wouldn't happen in a game, if a single Space Marine takes down fourty guardsmen in one shot then may god strike me down.
Yes, I agree. You can't just take some of the elements of fluff and put it in the game, not without being unbalanced. However, I do tend to play fluff armies, like My Space Wolves. They have access to all Space Marine weaponry, but dose not mean they will use it, like land speeders or Jet packs. Vary unfluff-like for Space Wolves, but that is as far as I can go when it come to fluff.
If Wolves were meant to fly, wouldnâ€™t the Emperor have given them wings?
I think there is a certain balance that must be struck. The fluff is, I think, more of a guide for the game. The game certainly does not hold fast to the fluff, however there is still something to be said for having a strong fluff basis for an army.
In the end, however, it comes down to the individual player. I really love the fluff and all, and researching arcane and lost little bits of fluff is one of the coolest parts of the game for me, so I try to make my army as "fluffy" as possible. For other people, that is not the case. Nothing wrong with that. Whatever floats your boat.
"Don't Delay-The best is the enemy of the good. By this I mean that a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week. War is a very simple thing, and the determining characteristics are self-confidence, speed, and audacity. None of these things can ever be perfect, but they can be good."
-General George S. Patton, Jr.
Fluffy is a way for most people to make sure their opponents avoid power-playing.
A couple examples spring to mind, like a non-Iyanden Eldar player fielding 3 wraithlords in a 500 points game, or a Space Wolf player giving bionics to everything and everyone when it's clearly said many times that no self-respecting Space Wolf would do that.
It's about having an army that's not boring and unilateral, that's why the actual army list is rated at GW tournaments.
A biel-tan army with 4 squads of dark reapers is certainly quite effective, but it goes completely around the concept of the biel-tan army.
Still, there are some people that power-play and ignore all fluff, and all I can say about them is that they're missing out on a good part of the game fun.
One of my friends put it this way quite nicely : "Without interesting fluff and stories to try and model our armies after, we might as well be playing with little pieces of cardboard on a white table with a few cups and glasses for terrain"
Just so everyone knows, I don't mind if fluff backs up the IDEA of an army. However, it is quite annoying when people use fluff to try to rationalize the game mechanics themselves.
I really like some of the fluff, and is the main reason that I shelled out 20 bucks for the Imperial Infantrymans Uplifting Primer. I like that kind of stuff a lot.
However, when people DO bring an army list that is supposedly "unfluffy" that doesn't really bother me either. Some GW army lists, if generated by fluff alone, would just get destroyed, so sometimes it helps to ignore certain aspects.
I'm a fluff nut and I try to make my own army as true to the fluff as possible... For example, I'd never put Ogryns in my Krieg Death Korps army.. It just wouldn't seem right...
But I really don't mind if others don't care about the fluff... I just think it's cooler if an army follows the fluff... (an all shooty World Eaters army just doesn't seem right to me...)
As for Space Marines being too small this is true but it's 100% for conversion purposes so they can be used with Guard bits... Otherwise I'm certain they would have made them bigger...
the fluff is a great indication of what you should and shouldnt include in your army and how your army should fight, like the blood angels should fight primarily in close comabt etc
but obviously it cant be used to justify rules
Never judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes...by that time they'll be a mile away, and have no shoes